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Transmediale 08At the end of January in Berlin, which was warmer than usual, “Transmediale 08” was held. Transmediale is an art festival to take a view of the present scene of media art and held in Berlin every year. This year, “Haus der Kulturen der Welt” became a new venue for the festival instead of the former venue “Akademie der Kuenste.” This more spacious new venue was filled with people who got interests in up-to-date media art as usual.

As the word “Media Art” implies various expressions, the contents also include different fields. Starting from the screening of video work, photography, installation, presentation of project, and live-performance were presented for six days from January 29th to February 3rd.

Transmediale 08

This year, it had a subtitle “Conspire.” A topic of conversation at last year’s Tranmediale and the keynotes lectures was “controlling digital media would control this era.” That kind of analysis seemed to guide the keyword “Conspire,” which means “conspiracy.”

All right, let me introduce some work, which caught my eyes.

As I entered the entrance, I reached to the lounge in the middle of the venue. The space was divided with a futuristic and eye-catching partition, which was set for this festival. On the partition, some monitors were set here and there. In front of the monitors, something like black tires was lying down. The viewers could lie down on them and watch the videos as they put themselves at ease on the sofas. At the center area surrounded by the partition, there were liquid crystal monitors, which are connected to the computers, forming a line on a table.
I could watch some presentations and get access to websites from them.

Transmediale 08

Among these presentations, the Flash documentation of the performance by three artists, called themselves Janez Janša, was outstanding. Their theme is a nature of the validity of signature, especially in public. In 2007, three of them had changed their names to Janez Janša, and have searched for originality and reproduction. In this project, by chasing their tracks with GPS they carry, they stood out their “signature” by following their tracks at the Holocaust-Denkmal Berlin.

Transmediale 08

As I entered the sideway of the lounge, I found a work of Electroboutique. Electroboutique is a company, consisted of gallerists and artists, and has created products, which are the fusion of art and information technique based on matured opened-sources from this past 20 years. In this show, they showed a glasses-shaped monitor and belt-like electrical scoreboard etc. The monitor has a structure to output the on-time processed images, which were taken from CCD camera setting up in the middle of the work unnoticeably.

Transmediale 08

As I went on, I found a crowd of people in front of the projected video on a wall. In the video, some construction laborers were changing digital-clock style numbers, which are made by lumber, in units of a minute at an empty plot in Berlin. This work “Standard Time” by Mark Formanek is a documentation of Datenstrudel’s performace. It was impressive that this humorous side of media art with human strength and low technology made many viewers smile.

Transmediale 08

Also, on another wall, there were a blank map of Berlin with some markings and restraint belt-like objects, which bind a human-size sponge. Nintendo DS is connected at the back of the object, and it tightens the instrument by synchronizing the strength of encoded WiFi radio wave. Gordan Savicic walked around the city of Berlin wearing this instrument, which let him accept the invisible amount of radio wave as pain. As a result, his pains were marked on the blank map. This work won 3rd prize of this year’s award.

Transmediale 08

As soon as I entered the exhibition hall, a presentation of “Amazon Noir”, a project by, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico, caught my eyes. This project showed the system which makes various search queries to hit a certain book, and as a result, creates a book by patching the found dates. The process has been exhibited. This work got the 2nd prize of this year’s award.

By the way, the video work “Not a Matter of If but When” by Julia Meltzer and David Thorne received a first prize of the award.

Also, as a distinctive feature of this year, I noticed that many Japanese artists were presented much more than last year.

Transmediale 08

Among the exhibition, “a plaything for the great observers at rest” by Norimichi Hirakawa expressed its existence overpoweringly. Also, at the day of the opening, a group called “d.v.d” had a performance combining drums and video. Moreover, “Filmachine” by a href=”” target=”new”>Keiichiro Shibuya and Takashi Ikegami, which had showed in YCAM in Japan as a related project of Transmediale, was pretty overwhelming at the exhibition of les jardins des pilotes.

Transmediale 2008
Date: 29th January – 24th Feburuary 2008
Place: Berlin, Germany

Text and photos: Yoshito Maeoka
Translation: Fumi Nakamura

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